More and more companies distribute content via social media

Two-thirds of Swiss companies rely on target-group-specific content shared via social media channels as part of their marketing communications. In addition, more than half of companies now use content marketing, as a ZHAW study shows.

66 percent of companies in Switzerland rely on social media to reach their customers. They use these channels to distribute content created specifically for the target groups and thus draw attention to themselves.

Because they are free or inexpensive to use, among other things, social media are very well suited for content marketing. This aims to reach customers with content that offers them clear added value, such as informative, advisory, or entertaining benefits.

As part of marketing communication, content marketing is generally on the rise: more than half of the companies surveyed - around 57 percent - actively use it. This is the result of the "ZHAW Content Marketing Study 2021". For the study, ZHAW researchers surveyed around 660 Swiss companies from all parts of the country online. The study was carried out by the ZHAW School of Management and Law and conducted by Watson and AZ concept supported.

Facebook most used

"Companies today have recognized the importance of social media, and even a great many small and medium-sized companies are now making extensive use of it," says study author Adrienne Suvada of the Institute of Marketing Management at ZHAW.

Facebook (69 percent), LinkedIn (53 percent), Instagram (50 percent), YouTube (42 percent) and Twitter (35 percent) are the main platforms used by the companies surveyed. When it comes to companies' assessment of the effectiveness of social media platforms, virtually all of them score positively, with the niche channel Spotify achieving the best result with a score of 4.03 (out of 5). However, only about four percent of companies use it. Of the larger providers, LinkedIn and Instagram stand out in particular. In addition, Facebook and Twitter are also seen as effective distribution channels.

SMEs catch up

Content marketing in general is used by 58 percent of large companies, and by 48 and 52 percent of medium-sized and small companies respectively. Furthermore, three-fifths of the companies that do not currently use content marketing plan to do so in the future. "While larger companies have been relying on this tool for some time, the trend now seems to have arrived among small and medium-sized companies as well," says study author Adis Merdzanovic of the ZHAW Institute for Marketing Management.

With content marketing, companies pursue a dual objective: on the one hand, they want to retain customers with good and interesting content and thus position themselves on the market; on the other hand, many see it as a further instrument for promoting sales and turnover. On average, companies invest a good 33 percent of their marketing budget in content marketing. This proportion is likely to increase in the future.

Content matters

"Digitization and social media have given companies new communication channels. But to use these successfully, content with real added value for the target groups is also required," says Suvada. The study also shows that one of the most important challenges is the regular creation of good quality content. Forty-one percent of companies say they struggle to produce good, engaging content, while 38 percent struggle to provide new content on a regular basis.

In the process, companies draw on many different formats for their content production: from online events to videos and illustrations to podcasts or blogs, they use virtually all content marketing tools, albeit to varying degrees.

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